Two UL Battery Safety Standards Are now FDA Recognized Consensus Standards for Medical Devices

NORTHBROOK, Ill., July 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — UL (Underwriters Laboratories), a global safety science leader, has announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recognized two UL battery safety standards as consensus standards for medical devices incorporating lithium or nickel-based batteries. The two standards are UL 2054 – Standard for Household and Commercial Batteries, and UL 1642 – Standard for Lithium Batteries (Cells).

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Consensus standards are standards recognized by the FDA for use in evaluating medical devices before they are approved for market entry. The FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) believes that conformance with recognized consensus standards can support a reasonable assurance of safety and/or effectiveness for many applicable aspects of medical devices. In the case of medical devices using batteries, manufacturers can now use the proof of compliance with UL 2054 and UL 1642 as evidence of a device’s safety and effectiveness.

According to Ibrahim Jilani, Battery Manager for UL’s Consumer Technology Division, consensus standards are also a means to streamline the premarket review process. “The use of these recognized standards will not only help medical device manufacturers reduce regulatory obstacles to enter the U.S. and international markets but also help them satisfy FDA premarket review requirements.”

Although certification is voluntary, UL anticipates this announcement will likely be a sizeable regulatory driver going forward whereby medical device manufacturers will look to have UL 2054 Compliant Nickel Cell Type(s), UL 1642 Compliant Lithium Cell Type(s), and/or UL 2054 Compliant Battery Pack(s).

“UL has more than 30 years of experience in battery standard development, safety and performance testing, fostering innovation in the industry and boosting confidence in battery quality,” said Jilani. “We believe both medical device manufacturers and consumers will benefit from products evaluated to UL’s battery safety standards in the United States and markets worldwide.”

For more information about UL’s battery testing & certification, visit http://www.ul.com/batt  and/or http://www.ul.com/largebatt for large format batteries.

About UL
UL is a premier global independent safety science company that has championed progress for 120 years. Its more than 10,000 professionals are guided by the UL mission to promote safe working and living environments for all people. UL uses research and standards to continually advance and meet ever-evolving safety needs. We partner with businesses, manufacturers, trade associations and international regulatory authorities to bring solutions to a more complex global supply chain. For more information about our certification, testing, inspection, advisory and education services, visit http://www.UL.com .

CONTACT: Richard Hammer
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UL LLC
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$650 million commitment to Stanley Center at Broad Institute aims to galvanize mental illness research

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — The Broad Institute today announced an unprecedented commitment of $650 million from philanthropist Ted Stanley aimed at galvanizing scientific research on psychiatric disorders and bringing new treatments based on molecular understanding to hundreds of millions of people around the world.

The Stanley commitment – the largest ever in psychiatric research and among the largest for scientific research in general – will support research by a collaborative network of researchers within the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute, a biomedical research institution that brings together faculty from MIT, Harvard University, the Harvard-affiliated hospitals, and collaborators worldwide.

Stanley’s commitment to support the work of the Broad Institute will consist of annual gifts during his lifetime followed by a bequest, with a total current value exceeding $650 million. Taking prior gifts into account, Stanley’s philanthropy in support of the Broad Institute’s work totals more than $825 million.

The biological causes of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder have mystified scientists for decades; in the last five years, however, understanding has accelerated dramatically, driven by advances in human genomics. Because researchers cannot study the biochemistry of the living human brain, the genes that predispose people to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder represent the best way to gain molecular insights into these disorders. The discovery of specific genes associated with these disorders provides significant clues to their biological basis and points to possible molecular targets for novel therapies.

Since 2004, Ted Stanley and his late wife, Vada Stanley, have been instrumental to the progress made thus far in identifying the genetic risk factors for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and the initiation of therapeutic efforts based on those discoveries. Their gifts made possible the establishment of the Stanley Center at the Broad Institute in 2007 and helped support an international collaboration that today involves scientists in 25 countries. Stanley’s new commitment is the culmination of a 25-year personal mission to discover the biology of psychiatric disorders and lay the groundwork for effective therapies.

“Human genomics has begun to reveal the causes of these disorders. We still have a long way to go, but for the first time we can point to specific genes and biological processes. It’s now time to step on the gas pedal,” Stanley said. “I am devoting my personal wealth to this goal. But it will take all of us – philanthropists, government funding agencies, scientists, patients, and families – working together to achieve it.”

“This is a pivotal moment,” said Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). “We are finally beginning to gain the deep knowledge about these disorders that we have sought for decades.”

Years of frustration give way to progress

Mental illness exacts an enormous human toll. The leading cause of disability in the United States, it affects millions and most often strikes patients while they are young and otherwise healthy. Biomedical researchers have struggled for years to understand the molecular causes of serious ailments such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Until five years ago, there was no clear scientific evidence around even a single gene that contributes to causing either disorder.

Research to develop new treatments has also stalled. No fundamentally new drugs have been introduced since the 1950s. All but a handful of pharmaceutical companies have abandoned the pursuit of new treatments because the basic science has seemed intractable.

Yet in the past few years, scientists have begun to find genes that shape the risk of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other illnesses – thanks in large part to Stanley’s support. Researchers at the Broad Institute have harnessed DNA mapping and sequencing technology, supported collaborative networks of researchers from more than 60 institutions in 25 countries, and assembled the world’s largest collection of DNA samples in psychiatric research — currently at over 175,000 samples — including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and healthy control samples. Analysis of 80,000 of these samples so far by Broad researchers and collaborators has linked more than 100 genomic regions to schizophrenia and begun to identify specific gene mutations and the critical underlying biological processes, such as an impaired ability of neurons to communicate with each other. Significant efforts are ramping up in bipolar disorder, autism, and other conditions.

“We are going to illuminate the biology behind these conditions,” said Eric Lander, founding director and president of the Broad Institute. “If we know the biological causes, we can begin to dispel the stigma around people battling mental illness, and rigorously pursue better treatments that will transform patients’ lives.”

[For more information, see backgrounder on Genomics: Reinvigorating the field of psychiatric research]

Three lives converge on a shared scientific mission

This scientific success – and the historic commitment of funding announced today – stems, in large part, from the devotion of three extraordinary people whose lives converged at the Broad Institute.

Stanley’s passion for the cause began decades ago when his son, Jonathan, was stricken with severe bipolar disorder while in college. The first few years were difficult, but Jonathan overcame his illness with the help of lithium, a landmark drug first used to treat patients with mental illness in 1949. Now a successful attorney, Jonathan is also a founding board member of the Treatment Advocacy Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reforming laws that affect persons with a mental illness, and an advocate for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Although lithium helped give Jonathan a normal life, other patients who suffer from mental illness have not been as fortunate. Hoping to help these patients, Ted and Vada Stanley went on to found the Stanley Medical Research Institute in 1989, aimed at finding treatments that would be as effective for others as lithium has been for their son.

When Edward Scolnick met the Stanleys, he had had a stellar career, first in cancer research in the 1970s and then as one of the most respected scientists in the pharmaceutical industry. As president of Merck Research Laboratories, Scolnick led the development of the first drugs to effectively combat HIV; the first drugs to effectively treat high cholesterol, statins; the first vaccine against cervical cancer; and many other breakthroughs. Instead of retiring, Scolnick took on a new challenge – he moved to the Broad Institute to tackle mental illness because he had a deep personal interest in the field. Early in his career, Scolnick had helped launch a revolution in cancer research based on the discovery of the first cancer genes. He wanted to set psychiatric research on the same path.

Scolnick vividly remembers the moment he and the Stanleys joined forces. He told them, “If you want to get at the molecular pathogenesis of these disorders, you’ve got to crack the genetics. That’s what has held this field back for so long.”

The Stanleys had given many small grants to support psychiatric research through their foundation, but Scolnick argued for the importance of critical mass – and asked them to contribute $10 million to launch a program at the Broad Institute. Ted Stanley agreed, and after clear initial progress called Scolnick back with a new proposal: “Let’s do something bigger. How about we give you $100 million over ten years?” Thus, the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad was launched in 2007, with Scolnick as its founding director.

The third player was Steven Hyman, who at the time was provost at Harvard University. Before taking that post, Hyman, a psychiatrist, had served as head of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) from 1996 to 2001. (Scolnick served as a member of Hyman’s National Advisory Mental Health Council from 1998 to 2002, and Lander served as a member of the NIMH’s Genetics Workgroup, and the three had developed a mutual respect and a shared vision for what was needed in the field.) As director, Hyman led the NIMH to invest in both neuroscience and genetics, and, along with Scolnick and Lander, supported the collection of DNA samples from patients, with the hope that the samples could someday be analyzed to find disease genes. But progress was slow, partly because the Human Genome Project had not yet been completed. When Hyman left the NIMH in 2001 to become provost of Harvard University, he had almost completely lost hope that true progress could be made in his lifetime in elucidating the mechanisms of psychiatric illness.

Hyman helped launch the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in 2004 and, over time, became encouraged by the Broad’s progress in the molecular understanding of psychiatric disorders. After nine years as Harvard Provost, he joined the Broad and then became the director of the Stanley Center in 2012.

“Ten years ago, finding the biological causes of psychiatric disorders was like trying to climb a wall with no footholds,” said Hyman. “But in the last few years, we’ve turned this featureless landscape into something we can exploit. If this is a wall, we’ve put toeholds into it. Now, we have to start climbing.”

[For more information, see backgrounder on Shared Vision: Three lives converge to revitalize mental health research]

A unique and powerful research model

The Stanley Center’s rapid progress was possible only because of the unique nature of the Broad Institute, its home institution. The Broad Institute grew from an MIT-based flagship center for the Human Genome Project, and generated a third of the DNA sequence data for that project – the single largest contribution to the effort. Formally founded in 2004 to fulfill the promise of the Human Genome Project by facilitating collaborative biomedical research across disciplines and institutions, it brings together faculty from Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the five major Harvard-affiliated hospitals: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Massachusetts General Hospital. Celebrating its tenth anniversary in July, the Broad Institute is today home to a community of more than 2,000 members, including physicians, biologists, chemists, computer scientists, engineers, staff, and representatives of many other disciplines. Together, the Broad Institute community uses industrial-strength technological capabilities to take on challenges too great for any single lab or institution to tackle.

Broad investigators have led international consortia that have found thousands of genetic variants responsible for common diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and Crohn’s disease – and translated that knowledge into descriptions of the underlying biological processes, a critical step in the development of rationally designed drugs. They have discovered several hundred genes that are mutated in cancer and applied this knowledge to begin to invent new, targeted forms of therapy. Broad scientists have also invented powerful new tools that allow researchers to precisely manipulate the genome and measure the millions of complex chemical interactions within cells. In the spirit of the Human Genome Project, the Broad makes its genomic data freely available to researchers around the world.

The future of psychiatric research

The Stanley Center engages a community of more than 150 scientists at the Broad Institute and its partner institutions. Over the coming years, the center plans to draw on Stanley’s tremendous generosity to accomplish at least four major goals:

(i) Complete the list of all genes that play roles in severe psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism, and others. To create a comprehensive catalog of the genetic variation that underlies mental illness, the researchers plan to expand their international network and draw in many more collaborators with new insights and capabilities. They also plan to expand their sample collection efforts dramatically – especially among understudied populations, such as those in African nations – to reveal the many as-yet-undiscovered mutations relevant to disease. As a first step, they plan to carry out comprehensive analysis of all genes that specify the protein building blocks of cells from 100,000 samples in the next two years.

(ii) Reveal the biological pathways in which these genes act. To do so, they will push technological boundaries, working with new techniques that allow them to manipulate and comprehensively measure the dynamic activity of genes in living cells, including lab-grown neurons produced by new stem-cell technologies. Their ultimate, ambitious goal: to determine where, when, and how these genes act in human brain cells, and how in psychiatric patients those processes may go awry.

(iii) Develop cellular and animal models that faithfully mimic human disorders. In contrast to researchers studying cancer or diabetes, researchers studying psychiatric disorders have been unable to identify animal models that correctly capture important biological aspects of the disorders and correctly predict which therapies will be effective in humans. Now, with growing knowledge of the genes underlying psychiatric disorders, Broad researchers plan to create cellular models in the laboratory and animal models that more faithfully match both the genetic variation and the biochemical processes seen in human patients. They plan to pioneer cutting-edge techniques such as genome editing, which allows them to precisely introduce any mutations they choose.

(iv) Develop chemicals to modulate biological pathways to serve as drug leads. The researchers plan to build on the existing therapeutic efforts within the Stanley Center and draw on the Broad’s Therapeutics Platform – a technological powerhouse with the capacity to create and screen hundreds of thousands of compounds – to identify molecules that can powerfully and precisely influence specific biological pathways relevant to psychiatric disorders. They then plan to comprehensively investigate those chemicals’ effects to determine which of them might serve as promising leads for drugs that could be safely and effectively used in humans.

“We’re still at the beginning of the curve of translating the emerging genetics into actionable biology, but it’s happening much faster than I thought it would,” said Scolnick. “I’d be bold enough to say that in five years, all the drug companies that got out of psychiatric research will be getting back in. The coming decades of psychiatric research will yield new science and a needed parallel effort to increase resources for services that can help patients and their families.”

R&D To Develop Cost Effective Products Will Be Crucial in the ANZ RFID Market, Says Frost & Sullivan

SYDNEY, July 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — The need to optimise business processes is prompting organisations across Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) to adopt radio-frequency identification (RFID) solutions. The transport and logistics sector, in particular, has deployed these solutions for rail freight transport, truck tracking, and vehicle traffic management applications. Such implementations are expected to help increase awareness of RFID technology and, in turn, fuel deployments.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Analysis of the ANZ RFID Market, finds that the market earned revenues of $33.0 million in 2013 and estimates this to reach $72.1 million in 2018 at a compound annual growth rate of 16.9 percent. The study covers the end-user segments of transport and logistics, livestock, healthcare and retail. Among these verticals, healthcare is likely to witness the highest growth during the forecast period.

“Currently, RFID solutions are used in the healthcare industry for applications such as patient monitoring, asset tracking and implant tracking,” said Frost & Sullivan Measurement & Instrumentation Research Analyst Vivek K Reghu. “However, with Australian hospitals expected to adopt ICT technologies to develop a fully integrated healthcare system by 2020, the application areas of RFID will expand.”

The implementation of mandatory livestock tracking programs across ANZ is driving the demand for RFID solutions that can help establish a national livestock identification system and improve the traceability of livestock. RFID adoption rates in the livestock industry will strengthen also due to a rising concern about the cost that would have to be incurred in the case of disease outbreaks. The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences estimates that foot-and-mouth disease, for instance, could cost the Australian livestock sector around $50 billion over 10 years.

Nevertheless, many players in the livestock industry cannot afford to integrate RFID solutions. The New South Wales Department of Primary Industries estimates that the implementation of a RFID system could cost livestock owners approximately six percent of their gross profit. Besides cost, the existence of a robust infrastructure for barcode technology, especially in the retail sector, is discouraging the uptake of RFID. Uncertainty about the return on investment in RFID solutions and end users’ unwillingness to move away from the current technology they use are also slowing down market development.

“As price is the biggest challenge in this market, RFID vendors in ANZ need to focus on R&D to develop high-quality products that are cost effective,” pointed out Vivek. “They will do well to provide customised RFID solutions as opposed to off-the-shelf ones.”

For more information on this study, please email Donna Jeremiah, Corporate Communications, at djeremiah@frost.com.

Analysis of the ANZ RFID Market is part of the Automatic Identification (http://www.autoid.frost.com) Growth Partnership Service program. Frost & Sullivan’s related studies include: Global 2D-Barcode Scanners Market, Global RFID in Manufacturing Market, Global RFID Tags Market, and Southeast Asia Radio Frequency Identification Market. All studies included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.

About Frost & Sullivan

Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, works in collaboration with clients to leverage visionary innovation that addresses the global challenges and related growth opportunities that will make or break today’s market participants.

Our “Growth Partnership” supports clients by addressing these opportunities and incorporating two key elements driving visionary innovation: The Integrated Value Proposition and The Partnership Infrastructure.

  • The Integrated Value Proposition provides support to our clients throughout all phases of their journey to visionary innovation including: research, analysis, strategy, vision, innovation and implementation.
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For more than 50 years, we have been developing growth strategies for the global 1000, emerging businesses, the public sector and the investment community. Is your organisation prepared for the next profound wave of industry convergence, disruptive technologies, increasing competitive intensity, Mega Trends, breakthrough best practices, changing customer dynamics and emerging economies?

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Analysis of the ANZ RFID Market
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International team sheds new light on biology underlying schizophrenia

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — As part of a multinational, collaborative effort, researchers from the Broad Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and scores of other institutions from all over the world have helped identify over 100 locations in the human genome associated with the risk of developing schizophrenia in what is the largest genomic study published on any psychiatric disorder to date. The findings, which are published online in Nature, point to biological mechanisms and pathways that may underlie schizophrenia, and could lead to new approaches to treating the disorder, which has seen little innovation in drug development in more than 60 years.

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Schizophrenia, a debilitating psychiatric disorder that affects approximately 1 out of every 100 people worldwide, is characterized by hallucinations, paranoia, and a breakdown of thought processes, and often emerges in the teens and early 20s. Its lifetime impact on individuals and society is high, both in terms of years of healthy life lost to disability and in terms of financial cost, with studies estimating the cost of schizophrenia at over $60 billion annually in the U.S. alone.

Despite the pressing need for treatment, medications currently on the market treat only one of the symptoms of the disorder (psychosis), and do not address the debilitating cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia. In part, treatment options are limited because the biological mechanisms underlying schizophrenia have not been understood. The sole drug target for existing treatments was found serendipitously, and no medications with fundamentally new mechanisms of action have been developed since the 1950s.

In the genomics era, research has focused on the genetic underpinnings of schizophrenia because of the disorder’s high heritability. Previous studies have revealed the complexity of the disease (with evidence suggesting that it is caused by the combined effects of many genes), and roughly two dozen genomic regions have been found to be associated with the disorder. The new study confirms those earlier findings, and expands our understanding of the genetic basis of schizophrenia and its underlying biology. 

“By studying the genome, we are getting a better handle on the genetic variations that are making people vulnerable to psychiatric disease,” said Tom Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, which helped fund the study. “Through the wonders of genomic technology, we are in a period in which, for the first time, we are beginning to understand many of the players at the molecular and cellular level.”

In the genome-wide association study (GWAS) published in Nature, the authors looked at over 80,000 genetic samples from schizophrenia patients and healthy volunteers and found 108 specific locations in the human genome associated with risk for schizophrenia.  Eighty-three of those loci had not previously been linked to the disorder.

“In just a few short years, by analyzing tens of thousands of samples, our consortium has moved from identifying only a handful of loci associated with schizophrenia, to finding so many that we can see patterns among them,” said first author Stephan Ripke, a scientist at the Broad’s Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research and the Analytical and Translational Genetics Unit at MGH. “We can group them into identifiable pathways — which genes are known to work together to perform specific functions in the brain. This is helping us to understand the biology of schizophrenia.”

The study implicates genes expressed in brain tissue, particularly those related to neuronal and synaptic function. These include genes that are active in pathways controlling synaptic plasticity — a function essential to learning and memory — and pathways governing postsynaptic activity, such as voltage-gated calcium channels, which are involved in signaling between cells in the brain.

Additionally, the researchers found a smaller number of genes associated with schizophrenia that are active in the immune system, a discovery that offers some support for a previously hypothesized link between schizophrenia and immunological processes. The study also found an association between the disorder and the region of the genome that holds DRD2 — the gene that produces the dopamine receptor targeted by all approved medications for schizophrenia — suggesting that other loci uncovered in the study may point to additional therapeutic targets.

“The fact that we were able to detect genetic risk factors on this massive scale shows that schizophrenia can be tackled by the same approaches that have already transformed our understanding of other diseases,” said the paper’s senior author Michael O’Donovan, deputy director of the MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics at Cardiff University School of Medicine. ‘The wealth of new findings have the potential to kick-start the development of new treatments in schizophrenia, a process which has stalled for the last 60 years.”

The study is the result of several years of work by the Schizophrenia Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC, http://pgc.unc.edu), an international, multi-institutional collaboration founded in 2007 to conduct broad-scale analyses of genetic data for psychiatric disease. One-third of the samples used in the study were genotyped at the Broad Institute, but a total of 55 datasets from more than 40 different contributors were needed to conduct the analysis.

“This level of cooperation between institutions is absolutely essential,” said Steve Hyman, director of the Broad’s Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research and Distinguished Service Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard University. “Because of the genetic complexity of schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders, we need a large sample size to conduct this type of research.  If we are to continue elucidating the biology of psychiatric disease through genomic research, we must continue to work together.”

The 80,000 samples used in this study represent all of the genotyped datasets for schizophrenia that the consortium has amassed to date. The PGC is currently genotyping new samples to further study schizophrenia and additional psychiatric diseases, including autism and bipolar disorder.   

Core funding for the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium comes from the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), along with numerous grants from governmental and charitable organizations, as well as philanthropic donations. Work conducted at the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research was funded by the Stanley Medical Research Institute, Merck Research Laboratories, the Herman Foundation, and philanthropic donations.

Paper cited:

Schizophrenia Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. “Biological insights from 108 schizophrenia-associated genetic loci.” Nature. July 22, 2014. DOI: 10.1038/nature13595.

About GWAS
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) examine the frequency of common variations within the human genome to determine which locations in the genome may be linked to a specific phenotype, or trait (usually, a disease). To study these variations, researchers scan strategically selected sites of the genome that are known to vary considerably across the population, taking note of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) — single-letter variations in the genetic code. SNPs found to be significantly more common in people with a trait than in those without are considered to be “associated” with that phenotype. Where the associated SNP resides in the genome can provide valuable clues about the genes and mechanisms that may be contributing to the phenotype being studied.

About the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard was launched in 2004 to empower this generation of creative scientists to transform medicine. The Broad Institute seeks to describe all the molecular components of life and their connections; discover the molecular basis of major human diseases; develop effective new approaches to diagnostics and therapeutics; and disseminate discoveries, tools, methods and data openly to the entire scientific community.

Founded by MIT, Harvard and its affiliated hospitals, and the visionary Los Angeles philanthropists Eli and Edythe L. Broad, the Broad Institute includes faculty, professional staff and students from throughout the MIT and Harvard biomedical research communities and beyond, with collaborations spanning over a hundred private and public institutions in more than 40 countries worldwide. For further information about the Broad Institute, go to http://www.broadinstitute.org.

Joint Commission International Appoints New Asia-Pacific Managing Director

OAK BROOK, Ill., July 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Joint Commission International (JCI) has appointed new leadership in the Asia-Pacific region. Prabhu Vinayagam, M.B.B.S., assumes the role of managing director of JCI’s Asia-Pacific Office, located in Singapore, effective 3 July 2014. 

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“Dr. Vinayagam brings clinical experience as a physician and surgeon, strategic business acumen, and a wealth of knowledge of the Asia-Pacific region to his new role,” says Paula Wilson, president and CEO, JCI and Joint Commission Resources. “Asia-Pacific is a key region for JCI as we strive to help our clients reduce risk and improve health care outcomes. We are delighted to have Dr. Vinayagam leading our Asia-Pacific initiatives, where he will be supported by a top-notch team of employees who are all passionate about health care improvement.”

Vinayagam is responsible for regional and country-level strategy and business development for JCI’s advisory services, accreditation and education units in the Asia-Pacific region. He will focus on developing and strengthening strategic relations with international organizations, ministries of health, and leading academic medical centers and hospitals. Vinayagam will be attending Hospital Management Asia 2014, August 28-29, in Cebu City, Philippines, and will be available to meet with representatives of JCI accredited organizations during the conference.

Most recently, Vinayagam was director of Pharmacy Solutions and Clinical Strategy, Central and South Asia Pacific Region, at BD Medical. Previously, he was a surgeon and filled other key roles at Safdarjung Hospital, G.B. Pant Hospital and L.N.J.P.N Hospital, all in New Delhi. He is currently president of the Infusion Nurses Society-India, an organization he was instrumental in establishing to develop and disseminate infusion standards and guidelines in India.

Vinayagam received his MBBS from Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi University, India.

Joint Commission International (JCI) was established in 1994 as a division of Joint Commission Resources, Inc. (JCR), a wholly controlled, not-for-profit affiliate of The Joint Commission. Through international accreditation, advisory services, publications and education programs, JCI extends The Joint Commission’s mission worldwide by helping improve the quality of patient care. JCI assists international health care organizations, public health agencies, health ministries and others in more than 100 countries.

Media Contact:
Elizabeth Eaken Zhani
Media Relations Manager
+1-630-792-5914
ezhani@jointcommission.org

International AIDS Conference Kicks Off in Melbourne

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The mood was somber with news that at least 6 conference goers were killed in downed Malaysian Airlines, including a former president of the International AIDS Society.  Previous reports of over 100 delegate-goers killed were incorrect. The conference will go-on. On Wednesday, Bill Clinton will give an address on Wednesday.“Other key events include, the plenary session on Monday 21 July with an address on the “Future of Science in the HIV Response” by Tony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of  Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight  AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, will speak on investment in the HIV response; Helen Clark,  Administrator of United Nations Development Programme, will present the future of the HIV response in the post-2015 landscape; and Sean Strub, Writer, Activist, and Director of The Sero Project will moderate a debate on how new prevention technologies affect disclosure, prevention and stigma.” (http://www.aids2014.org/

For a deeper dive into the issues on the table this week in Australia, Mark spoke with Erin Hohlfelder of ONE. Global Dispatches Podcast http://bit.ly/1kzMpri

A Deadly Day in Gaza for Both Sides; Allegation of a Massacre…More than 400 people have been killed since the conflict began, including over 100 children. “More than 60 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers were killed as Israel shelled a Gaza neighborhood and battled militants on Sunday in the bloodiest fighting in a near two-week-old offensive. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of carrying out a massacre in Shejaia in the eastern suburbs of the city of Gaza and declared three days of mourning. Israel’s army said it was targeting militants from Gaza’s dominant Hamas group whom it alleged had fired rockets from Shejaia and built tunnels and command centers there. The army said it had warned locals two days earlier to leave.” ( Reuters http://reut.rs/1quD2B7)

Africa

Ebola virus in Sierra Leone is killing dozens by the week. Medical workers have responded by expanding a field hospital, taking extraordinary measures to contain infection. (NPR http://n.pr/1n1YcmL)

Three years after famine in Somalia killed a quarter of a million people in six months, aid agencies warned Sunday a new catastrophe is looming unless urgent aid arrives. (Yahoo http://yhoo.it/1n1ZNZS)

South Sudanese rebels and government soldiers clashed in the northern town of Nasir on Sunday, adding to fears that a shaky ceasefire agreement signed in May could totally collapse. (Reutershttp://bit.ly/1rCiDqP)

Mediators and participants at the Brazzaville forum to discuss the Central African Republic crisis should reject any calls for an amnesty for serious human rights crimes. (HRW http://bit.ly/1n1YASl)

Nigeria’s press is traditionally free to write almost anything about anyone – whether it’s true or not. After 15 years of democracy, journalists believe the state is trying to tame the vibrant, prolific media during its faltering campaign to stamp out the militant Islamist group. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1n207rG)

A chief suspect in Malawi’s “Cashgate” corruption scandal, who was a high-ranking official and financier of ex-president Joyce Banda’s People’s Party, was arrested by police on Sunday. (AFPhttp://yhoo.it/1yNSIQu)

MENA

The United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting late Sunday on the situation in Gaza, where the Palestinian death toll passed 100 in a single day. (Boston Herald http://bit.ly/1jQIDii)

Flights have resumed from two small airports in Libya triggering a rush of Libyans and expatriates trying to leave the country on Saturday after fighting closed the main international airport a week earlier. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1n1YcDw)

The United States Defense Department has confirmed that it has received reports from U.S. teams sent to Iraq to examine the military and security situation there. But a department spokesman said that it could take some time before any decision is made about what to do next. (VOA http://bit.ly/1n1YtGu)

Lebanon has arrested a man who spurred his two-year-old son to beat up a Syrian child after a video of the shocking blows went viral, state media reported on Sunday. (Yahoo http://yhoo.it/1n1Zgr0)

Asia

The strongest typhoon to hit southern China in four decades has killed 16 people after claiming at least 94 lives in the Philippines, officials said. (AP http://yhoo.it/1n1YV7A)

The death toll from Typhoon Rammasun in the Philippines rose to 94 — with six missing — as another storm brought rains to the ravaged areas, authorities said Sunday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1n1YXw6)

The alleged rape of a Buddhist woman by two Muslim men that triggered religious violence in the centralMyanmar city of Mandalay was fabricated, authorities said Sunday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1rCjrMy)

The Americas

Mexican authorities begin the transfer of children from the House of the Big Family children’s home, as families complain of abuse. (BBC http://bbc.in/1n1YkTi)

With the red and black flags of the Sandinista National Liberation Front waving in the crowd before him,Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega this weekend celebrated the anniversary of the revolution he helped lead 35 years ago. (VOA http://bit.ly/1n1YzxL)

Opinion/Blogs

Why traveling for work is awful, and the best (WhyDev http://bit.ly/1yNPwUN)

Is ‘Green Growth’ just the latest development fad? (DevPolicy http://bit.ly/1yNPCf8)

Is Mosul anything like Chicago’s South Side? (Rachel Strohm http://bit.ly/1yNPMDa)

Who’s Right and Wrong in the Middle East? (NY Times http://nyti.ms/1yNPOv1)

Facebook and Politics in Zimbabwe: Who is Baba Jukwa? (Africa is a Country http://bit.ly/1yNPU5P)

How to avoid building more bad roads? (Development that Works http://bit.ly/1yNQ5On)

What to Expect at This Year’s International AIDS Conference (CGD http://bit.ly/1yNQpwx)

Can Drones Save Namibia’s Wildlife? (Policy Innovations http://bit.ly/1yNQy3f)

Research/Reports

The International AIDS Society has confirmed that at least six high-level researchers and AIDS experts were among those killed on a Malaysia Airlines flight downed Thursday over volatile eastern Ukraine. (VOA http://bit.ly/1n1Yn1E)